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What Are Essential Oils, And Do They Work?

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By Author: Olivia Gallagher
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From headaches to sore throats to sleep, essential oils have been growing very popular for their numerous benefits. But do these concentrated plant-based oils really work? For as long as they are used in a safe way, these oils can make a huge positive impact on your overall health and well being. If you are curious about what essential oils are and what they can do for you, read on and find out.

What are Essential Oils?

Basically, essential oils are plant extract that are made by steaming or pressing different parts of a plant to capture its compounds that produce fragrance. It can take several pounds of a plant to produce just one ounce of essential oil. Aside from its scents, essential oils can also perform other plant functions.

People claim that these oils are natural remedies for several ailments, but more research is still needed to determine their effectiveness when it comes to human health. Some studies shown that there is a benefit to using essential oils while others displayed no improvement in their symptoms. Clinical trials have shown that they can alleviate conditions like depression, anxiety, ...
... insomnia, nausea, dry mouth and low appetite.

How to Use Essential Oils

The quality of essential oils in today’s market greatly varies, from pure ones to those diluted with less expensive ingredients. Since there is no regulation, the product label might not list everything in the bottle. It is for this reason that essential oils should not be ingested. Also take caution when diffusing in a household with multiple members or in a public area as essential oils affect people differently. Here are the safest ways to use them:

Aroma stick. Otherwise called an essential oil inhaler, these are portable plastic sticks with an absorbent wick that will soak up the oil. They have a cover so you can seal the scent until you are ready to use it.
Aromatherapy accessories. Keychains, bracelets and necklaces made of absorbent material where you can apply the essential oil and sniff throughout the day.
Body oil. This is a mix of essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut, olive or jojoba oil that is them massaged into the skin. Do not use them full-strength on the skin because they can cause irritation.

Most Popular Essential Oils

Lavender oil. This is a very popular oil because many people find its scent relaxing. Lavender oil is usually used to relieve anxiety and stress, and promote sleep.
Tea tree oil. Otherwise known as melaleuca, this oil was used by aboriginal people to heal wounds. Today, it is used for insect bites, athlete’s foot and acne.
Peppermint oil. There is evidence indicating that peppermint helps relieve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. When applied topically, it can also offer relief from tension headaches.
Lemon oil. For many people, the citrusy scent of lemon oil can boost the mood. It is also added in homemade cleaning products.

Buying Quality Essential Oils

Check the label. It should have the plant’s Latin name, purity information, added ingredients and the country where the plant was grown.
Look into the company. Only buy products from reputable aromatherapy companies that has been around for years.
Go with dark-colored glass containers. Because they are highly concentrated, pure essential oils can dissolve plastic bottles over time, which also taints the oil. Many companies package their products in small dark glass bottles to protect their quality.
Avoid fragrance oils. Perfume or fragrance oils are made from essential oils mixed with other ingredients. They are recommended for aromatherapy.

Essential oils an lift the mood and make you feel good with a single whiff. For some people, it also helps alleviate their health issues. Contact a professional to learn more information about essential oils and how to use them.

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